Officials with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier say the affects of the federal government shutdown that began December 22nd are still being felt locally.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Food Bank President, Natasha Thompson says Catholic Charities of Broome County and others in the region have been working to keep food pantry shelves filled as an early distribution of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits left some households running out of food earlier in the month.

Early SNAP benefits may be coming again for recipients for the March payment period.

Thompson says the increase in need shows how essential federal nutrition assistance is.  An estimated 68-thousand people in the Food Bank’s service region receive SNAP benefits.

Requests for assistance are still expected to rise in the coming weeks as budgets adjust.

Residents who can, are asked to donate food to help local programs meet requests for assistance.